THE SMALLER CATECHISM


PREFACE OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER


Martin Luther to all the faithful and pious parishioners and ministers: grace, mercy, and peace in Jesus Christ our Lord.


The deplorable wretchedness which I recently witnessed, when I visited your parishes, has impelled me to publish this Catechism, drawn up in a very simple and brief form.


Eternal God! What distress did I behold! — The people, especially those who live in the country, and even parishioners for the most part, possessing so little knowledge of the Christian doctrine, that I even blush to tell it. And yet all are called by the sacred name of Christ, and enjoy the sacraments in common with us, while they are not only totally ignorant of the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostolic Creed or Symbol, and the Decalogue, but cannot even repeat the words. Why need I hesitate to say, that they differ in nothing at all from the brutes? — now too while in the Gospel is widely disseminated, while they even enjoy the greatest liberty of Christians.


You bishops, upon whom heaven has enjoined that duty, what apology will you make Christ for this? You are the men, to whom alone this decline of the Christian religion must be ascribed. Thus shamefully have you permitted men to stray: — yours is the fault, who have never done one thing which it was your duty to do. I am unwilling in this place to attribute any evil motive to you. But is it not great impiety, — or rather, the greatest presumption, to urge your traditions and a single element of the sacrament so far? Utterly careless and indifferent are you, whether those entrusted to your fidelity and instruction, understand the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostolic Creed, or the Decalogue, or not! Alas, alas, for you! In the name of God, then, I beg and entreat you all, parishioners and ministers, to discharge your duty seriously, and to watch over the people that heaven has commended to your keeping. This you will have accomplished most successfully, when, in conjunction with us, you shall inculcate this Catechism upon the people, and especially upon the young. Because if any of you are so illiterate as not to possess any knowledge at all of these matters, be not ashamed to read the form prescribed by us, word by word before your hearers, in following order:


First of all the ministers will be careful not to pronounce the Decalogue, or the Lord’s Prayer, or the Apostolic Creed, or even the sacraments, occasionally in one way and then in another; but to use continually the same forms in pronouncing and explaining them to the people. I give this advice because I know that the young and the uneducated cannot be successfully instructed, unless the same forms of expressions be frequently pronounced and repeated. If you deliver your instructions now in one manner, and now in another, untutored minds will easily become embarrassed, and all the labour which you have expended in teaching them, may be lost.


The holy Fathers kept this in view, as they desired the form of the Decalogue, of the Creed, and of the Lord’s Prayer, to remain in the church, couched in the same unalterable terms. It becomes us to imitate their prudent example; and we must endeavour to deliver those instructions to the young and uneducated, without even changing a syllable; how frequently soever you may teach the Catechism, let your method always be the same. Whatever mode, then, of the teaching the Catechism you may adopt, retain it uniformly, — never depart from it. But the case is different when you teach the Gospel in an assembly of learned men; — there you may exhibit a specimen of your learning; nor do I forbid you to vary your forms of expression among them, and occasionally in speaking assume one aspect and then another. But among the uneducated you must continually use the same forms, expressed in definitive terms. And it ought to be your first exertion, to teach the Decalogue, the Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer, word by word in their naked and pure simplicity, so that the same expression being frequently heard, your hearers themselves may learn to repeat them.


Should there be any who despise religion so much as to refuse to learn these things, let them be advised that they are denying Christ, and that they are anything rather than Christians. They must not be admitted to the sacrament of the altar, nor to the duties of catechists, who are generally present at infant baptisms; and if they wish to enjoy the privilege of Christian liberty, when it happens to suit their convenience, let the privilege not be granted them, but let them rather be commended to the pope and to those whom they call official, even to Satan himself. It will be the duty of the parents and heads of families, to refuse food to such men; and they will act commendably, if they declare to these licentious men, that there is a decree of the prince to expel them from their country, and drive them into banishment.


For although I agree that no one can or ought to be forced to believe, yet this menace ought in every instance be pronounced, in order that the people may know what is right, and also what is opposed to the right of those with whom they live, and that they may beg their food. For it is desirable that each one, whether he truly believes or is involved in the mists of doubt, to understand and observe the laws of the state, which he wishes to have the privilege of enjoying.

 

In the second place, — when the uneducated have learned to repeat the words of the Catechism, an explanation must afterwards be delivered, in order that they may also understand it. And you can either employ the forms which you see here prescribed, or any other. But as the Catechism itself should always be pronounced to the people in the same words, as I have already advised, so in the explanation of the Catechism, I could wish that the same discussion be continually followed, not changing even a syllable. And for this purpose you may take sufficient time; for it is not necessary that the whole be delivered at the same time; but let certain portions be taken, and in discussing them, it will be proper to review one after another. When people have learned accurately what the first commandment requires, you must then pass on to the second. In this manner let the whole be learned in regular order; for otherwise the mind being burdened and confused with too great an abundance, can retain nothing at all.


In the third place, — after you have finished this short explanation of the Catechism, you will enter the larger Catechism, in order that your hearers may understand the whole more completely. Here you will illustrate several commandments, the distinct parts of the Creed and of the Lord’s Prayer, in their appropriate colours; you will enumerate the different duties, the various results and advantages which arise from them, and likewise the dangers and the losses which we incur, if we fail to discharge them. These points you will find amply unfolded everywhere in the writings of pious men. You will most earnestly enforce those commandments which directly apply to men committed to your charge. To give an example of this, — you will press the seventh commandment most especially upon merchants, and upon those who perform manual labour. With great propriety too, this commandment may be urged upon farmers, and upon male and female servants, for they act very unfaithfully with men, and in various ways commit dishonest deeds. So it is proper to urge the fourth commandment especially upon the young and the uninstructed, that they may be quiet, observe good faith in all things, be obedient to magistrates and to parents, and not disturb the public peace. These instructions must also be illustrated by examples from sacred literature, — showing where God exacted severe punishments from the violators of this commandment, or wonderfully promoted all the enterprises of those who observed it.


In this place you should make it your primary object to warn the magistrate and parents of their duty, that they may discharge their public functions with great diligence, and devote their children to the study of letters. And they ought to be urged to feel themselves bound by divine authority to attend these duties; for should they fail to observe them, it will be a most grievous offence. What else indeed are they doing, but rejecting at the same time divine and human government, in no sense different from the most implacable enemies both of God and of men!


And here you can exhibit as it were in a table, what serious losses those bring upon their country, who do not devote their children to the acquisition of knowledge, since these very children may at some time be chosen parishioners or ministers of the word, as well as to other offices, of which this life cannot be destitute without incurring very great distress. You will also add that God will inflict the severest punishments upon parents for this neglect. Indeed I do not know that any other point merits a full discussion so justly as this. For it cannot be told how much, in the present age, magistrates and parents have offended in this respect. And there is no doubt that it may chiefly be attributed to the influence of Satan, who designs to bring some great calamity upon Germany.


Lastly, — since the tyranny of the pope has been weakened and diminished, you will find many everywhere who never approach the sacrament, but evidently despise it as a useless and unnecessary thing. These also must be persuaded and urged. I am unwilling, however, in this way, to force anyone either to believe or to take the sacrament; and those act very injudiciously, who prescribe rules, certain times, and certain places for such purposes.


Those however who are engaged in the administration of the word, ought to teach them, that without our rules, influenced by their own voluntary choice, they should come as hearers to us, and as it were compel us, the ministers of the word, to extend the sacrament to them. This will assuredly happen, if you teach that there is a danger lest those who despise the sacrament, who do not take it at least four times a year, may not be considered worthy to be reckoned in the number of Christians; as those who do not believe, or who will not hear the Gospel, are not reckoned in the number of Christians. For when Christ instituted the sacrament, he did not say “Omit this or despise this”, — but, “Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me”. By this he certainly wishes us to do so; he does not wish us entirely to neglect or to despise it, for he says “Do this”.


Because, if anyone despises the sacrament, it is certain evidence, that he has no regard either for sin, or flesh, or Satan, or the world, or death, or dangers, or hell, that is, he has no belief whatever in any of them, although he is all immersed in sin, and bound completely captive in the kingdom of Satan; on the other hand, he has no need of grace, nor life, nor of Paradise, nor of heaven, nor of Christ, nor of God, nor of any other good. For if he could believe himself covered with sins, and very far off from grace, without doubt he would not despise the sacrament, in which is held forth a remedy against all sins, and a great abundance of all good things for us. And there is no need of laws for him, by which he might be compelled to take the sacrament; — he should come of his own accord, driven by the weight of his sins, and rather compel you to administer the sacrament to him.


Here you must not act by laws or compulsion, as the pope does. But strive in your discourse, as far as you can, to portray the advantages and disadvantages, the dangers and the benefits, the necessity as well as the utility of this sacrament. Then they will run to you voluntarily, — they will compel themselves. And if some are not influenced by these means, permit them to live in their own way, — only say this to them, that those who cannot be moved, either by necessity, or by the kindness and grace of God, which he exhibits to them in the sacrament, may remain unmolested in the kingdom of Satan. Those indeed who do not stir their hearers in this way, but would prefer to force them by legal restrictions, actually furnish them a pretext for despising the sacrament. For when the ministers of the word are so wavering, it is no wonder if the hearers also become more negligent. Parishioners and ministers of the word, should therefore consider this profoundly, — that their present duty is far different from what it was formerly under the papacy. Now it is the ministration of salvation and of grace; it has therefore become more difficult and laborious. And though very distressing dangers and temptations must be encountered in the ministry, yet there is neither reward nor gratitude in this world for our labours. But this ingratitude of the world, as it is connected with great impiety, cannot affect us. Christ himself has set rewards before us sufficiently magnificent, if only we labour with honest fidelity in his vineyard. And that we may be able to do this with greater success, may the Father of all grace vouchsafe, to whom be all praise and glory forever, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.





THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

AS THEY ARE MOST PLAINLY TO BE TAUGHT BY A FATHER TO HIS FAMILY



1 | You shall have no other gods.

What does this imply?

Answer: That we should fear and love, and trust in God above all things.



2 | You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.

What does this imply?

Answer: That we should fear and love God, so that we may not curse, swear, conjure, lie, or deceive by His name; but to call upon the same in every time of need; to pray, praise, and give thanks.



3 | Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

What does this imply?

Answer: That we should fear and love God, so that we may not despise the preaching of the Gospel, and His Word; but to keep it holy; willingly to hear and learn it.

※ Alternatively: “You shall sanctify the Sabbath-day” or “You shall sanctify the holy-day”



4 | Honour your father and your mother.

What does this imply?

Answer: That we should fear and love God, so that we may not despise nor provoke our parents and superiors; but to give them honour, to serve, obey, love and esteem them.

※ Alternatively: “Honour your father and your mother, that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.”



5 | You shall not kill.

What does this imply?

Answer: That we should fear and love God, so that we may not hurt, or afflict our neighbour in his body; but we should help and further him when he is in bodily need.



6 | You shall not commit adultery.

What does this imply?

Answer: That we should fear and love God, so that we may live chastely and modestly in words and actions; and that each should love and honour his spouse.



7 | You shall not steal.

What does this imply?

Answer: That we should fear and love God, so that we may not rob our neighbour of his money or possessions, nor acquire the same by spurious merchandise, or by fraudulent traffic; but to assist him in improving and protecting his property and livelihood.



8 | You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

What does this imply?

Answer: That we should fear and love God, so that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, and backbite our neighbour, nor raise an evil report; but we should excuse and speak well of him, and direct all things for the best.



9 | You shall not covet your neighbour’s house.

What does this imply?

Answer: That we should fear and love God, so that we may not by any stratagem attempt to obtain our neighbour’s inheritances, or home, nor acquire the same under the pretext of justice; but to be subservient in preserving the same in his possession.



10 | You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his cattle, nor anything that is his.

What does this imply?

Answer: That we should fear and love God, so that we may not seduce our neighbour’s wife, alienate his domestics, or force away from him cattle; but cause them to remain and do their duty.



Conclusion

What does God declare concerning all these commandments?

Answer: He says thus:


I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments.


What does this imply?

Answer: That God threatens to punish all such as transgress these commandments. We should therefore fear His wrath, and not sin against these commandments. But He promises grace and all blessings to all such as keep them. We ought therefore also to love Him, and trust in Him, and cheerfully obey His commandments.





THE APOSTLES' CREED

AS IT IS MOST PLAINLY TO BE TAUGHT BY A FATHER TO HIS FAMILY



— The First Article | Of Creation —

 

I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

 

What does this imply?

Answer: That I believe, that God created me, together with every other creature, with a body and soul, eyes and ears, and all other members, that He has given me reason and all the senses, that He also preserves the same; moreover that He has given me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and residence, a spouse and children; lands, cattle, and every other possession; that He amply and daily provides me with all necessaries and support the body, and of this life; that He protects me against all dangers and keeps me from all evil. All this He does without any of my own merit and worthiness, through pure fatherly, divine goodness and mercy. For all this I am under obligation to thank and praise, and to serve and obey Him. This is most certainly true.




— The Second Article | Of Redemption —

 

I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontus Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried;

He descended to the dead.

On the third day He rose again;

He ascended into heaven,

He is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and He will come to judge the living and the dead.


What does this imply?

Answer: That I believe, that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from all eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, that He has redeemed me a wretched, lost, and condemned human being; gained and delivered me from all sin, from death and the power of the devil, not with gold, or silver; but with His holy, precious blood, and by His innocent suffering and death; so that I might be His own, and live in subjection to Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and felicity; even as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns forever. This is most certainly true.




— The Third Article | Of Sanctification —


I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and life everlasting.

Amen.

 

What does this imply?

Answer: That I believe, that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in, or come to Jesus Christ my Lord; but that the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and preserved me in the true faith, even as He calls, assembles and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and preserves the same in Christ in the only right faith, in which Church He daily abundantly pardons all my sins, and the sins of all believers; and that He shall on the last day raise me and all the dead, and give unto me, together with all believers in Christ Jesus, an everlasting life. This is most certainly true.

※ Catholic: Universal or Christian Church





THE LORD’S PRAYER

AS IT IS MOST PLAINLY TO BE TAUGHT BY A FATHER TO HIS FAMILY


— Preface —


Our Father in heaven,

 

What does this imply?

Answer: That God thereby intends to entice us to believe that He is truly our Father, and that we are truly His children; so that we may cheerfully and with all confidence entreat Him as beloved children do their beloved father.




— The First Petition —

 

hallowed be Your name,

 

What does this imply?

Answer: That although God’s name is holy in itself, nevertheless we pray in this petition that it may also be sanctified by us.

 

How does this come to pass?

Answer: When the word of God is purely and correctly taught, and we also as the children of God accordingly thereto live holy. In doing this may our heavenly Father assist us! But whoever teaches and lives otherwise than the word of God teaches, profanes the name of God among us. Against which, may our heavenly Father defend us!

 

 


— The Second Petition —

 

Your kingdom come,

 

What does this imply?

Answer: That although the kingdom of God indeed comes without our prayer, nevertheless we pray in this petition that it may also come to us.

 

How does this come to pass?

Answer: When our heavenly Father grants us His Holy Spirit, so that we through his grace believe his blessed word, and live godly in time and eternity.

 


 

— The Third Petition —

 

Your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

 

What does this imply?

Answer: That although the good and gracious will of God indeed is done without our prayer, nevertheless we pray in this petition that it may also be done by us.

 

How does this come to pass?

Answer: When God frustrates all wicked councils and designs, which would not suffer us to sanctify God’s name, nor His kingdom to come: such as the will of the devil, of the world, and of our flesh; and when He strengthens and preserves us firmly in His word, and in the faith unto the end. This is His gracious good will.




— The Fourth Petition —


Give us today our daily bread.

 

What does this imply?

Answer: That God indeed gives daily bread without our prayer, even unto all the wicked; notwithstanding we pray in this petition that He would make us sensible of His goodness; so that we may receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.


What is meant by daily bread?

Answer: Whatever pertains to the support and the necessities of this life; such as food and drink, clothes and shoes, house, residence, and lands; cattle, money and goods; a pious spouse, pious children and servants; pious and faithful rulers, a good government; good seasons, peace and health; discipline and honor; good friends, faithful neighbors, and such like.




— The Fifth Petition —

 

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.


What does this imply?

Answer: That we pray in this petition that our heavenly Father would not remember our sins, nor for the sake of the same deny our petitions, (as we are not worthy nor deserving of the things for which we pray,) but that He would give us those things through mercy, for we sin much daily and deserve nothing but punishments. That we also promise again heartily to forgive those, and freely to do them good, who sin against us.




— The Sixth Petition —

 

Lead us not into temptation

 

What does this imply?

Answer: That although God tempts no one to sin, yet we pray in this petition that he would preserve us; so that the devil, the world and our own flesh, may not beguile nor seduce us into unbelief and despair, and other great ignominious vices; and though we should thus be tempted, that we may notwithstanding finally obtain the victory.




— The Seventh Petition —

 

but deliver us from evil.

 

What does this imply?

Answer: That we pray in this petition as in a summary, that our heavenly Father would deliver us from all manner of evil, injurious to the body and soul, property and character; and finally at the arrival of the hour of death grant us a happy departure, and graciously receive us from this troublesome world unto Himself into the mansions of glory.




— Conclusion —

 

Amen.

 

What does Amen signify?

Answer: That I shall be assured that such petitions are acceptable to our heavenly Father, and heard of Him; for He Himself has commanded us thus to pray, and has promised that He will hear us. Amen, amen signifies truly, truly, it shall be so.





HOLY BAPTISM

AS IT IS MOST PLAINLY TO BE TAUGHT BY A FATHER TO HIS FAMILY


— First —

 

What is baptism?

Answer: Baptism is not only simple water, but it is the water that is comprehended in God’s command, and connected with his word.


Which is that word of God?

Answer: It is that which our blessed Saviour declares in the last chapter of St. Matthew: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”




— Secondly —


What does baptism confer or benefit?

Answer: It effects the forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil; and confers everlasting salvation upon all, who believe it, as the words and promises of God declare.


Which are those words and promises of God?

Answer: Those words of our blessed Saviour, recorded in the last chapter of St. Mark: “Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”




— Thirdly —


How can water effect such great things?

Answer: Indeed it is not the water that effects them, but the word of God that is with and in the water; and the faith trusting such word of God in the water. For without the word of God the water is mere water, hence no baptism; but with the word of God it constitutes a baptism, that is, an abundant gracious water of life, and a washing of regeneration, in the Holy Spirit; as St. Paul says, Titus 3:5-7: “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” This is most certainly true.




— Fourthly —


What does such baptizing with water signify?

Answer: It signifies that the old man in us is to be drowned by daily sorrow and repentance, and die with all sins and evil lusts; so that daily there may come forth and arise a new man, forever living before God in righteousness and purity.


Where is this written?

Answer: St. Paul say in Romans 6:4: “We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”





CONFESSION OF SIN


What does the confession of sin imply?

Answer: The confession of sin includes two parts: the first is, the confession of sin; the other is the receiving of the absolution from the confessor as from God himself; so that one should by means doubt, but firmly believe that sin is thereby forgiven before God in heaven.

 

What manner of sins ought to be confessed?

Answer: Before God we should acknowledge ourselves guilty of all sins, even of such as we do not know, as we do in the Lord’s prayer. But before the confessor, we ought to confess those sins only, which we know and feel in our hearts.

 

Which are they?

Answer: You ought to consider your relation to the ten commandments, viz.: Whether you are a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, a master or a mistress, a man-servant or a maid-servant — whether you have been disobedient, unfaithful, indolent, angry, incontinent, ill — whether you have injured any person by words or deeds — whether you have stolen, been negligent, or have otherwise done harm.




— A Brief Form of Confession For the Inexperienced —


In this manner you should say to the confessor:

Worthy and beloved Sir, I desire of you, that you would hear my confession, and announce forgiveness unto me for God’s sake.


I, a miserable sinner, confess myself before God guilty of all manner of sins, in particular I confess in presence of you, that I am a man-servant/a maid-servant etc. but, alas!, serve my master/mistress unfaithfully; for here and there I have not performed what they commanded me; I have provoked them, and caused them to take the name of the Lord in vain; I have been neglectful to the injury of others. I have likewise been immodest in words and actions; I have been angry with my equals, murmured and uttered imprecations against my spouse etc. For all this I am sorry, I pray for grace, and intend to reform my life.


A master or mistress should thus say:

In particular I confess in the presence of you, that I have not to the honour of God, faithfully reared my children and domestics. I have sworn, set bad examples by indecorous words and actions, done my neighbour injury, and spoken evil against him; I have been too extravagant in charges, I have given false weights and unjust measures.


And whatever else he may have done in his vocation against the command of God and his station etc. may be mentioned. But if anyone does not find himself oppressed with these, or greater sins, he should not be solicitous, or strive to hunt after imaginary sins, and thus make a torture out of confession, but mention one or two which he knows. Thus: In particular I confess, that I have once profaned the name of God; again I have once been immodest in expression, have once neglected this or that etc. Let this suffice.


But if you are unconscious of any, (which however is almost impossible,) mention none in particular, but receive the remission after having made a general confession to God in presence of the confessor.


Hereupon the confessor shall say:

God be merciful to you, and strengthen your faith. Amen.


Further: 

Do you believe in the remission which I announce, to be the remission of God?


Answer:

Yes, beloved Sir.


Then he shall say:

Be it to you, as you believe. And I, by the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, announce unto you the forgiveness of your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Depart in peace.


But those who have great distress of conscience, or are grieved and disturbed, the confessor will not be at a loss to console with more passages of Scripture, and to entice to faith. This shall be only a common form of confession for the inexperienced.





THE EUCHARIST

AS IT IS MOST PLAINLY TO BE TAUGHT BY A FATHER TO HIS FAMILY


What is the Eucharist?

Answer: It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, with bread and wine, instituted by Christ himself, for us Christians to eat and to drink.

 

Where is this written?

Answer: The holy Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and the apostle St. Paul, write thus: “Our Lord Jesus on the night when He was betrayed took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying: “Take, eat. This is My body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” Likewise after the supper, He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying: “Drink you all of this. This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you and many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

 

What is the benefit of such eating and drinking?

Answer: This is indicated by the words: “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins”. viz.: that through such words in the sacrament the remission of sins, life and salvation are imparted; for where there is remission of sins, there is also life and salvation.

 

How can bodily eating and drinking effect such things?

Answer: Indeed it is not the eating and drinking that effect them, but these words declaring: “which is given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins”. Which words, besides the bodily eating and drinking are considered the principal thing in the sacrament; that whoever believes these words, enjoys what they indicate, and declare. viz.: the remission of sins.

 

Who then receives the sacrament worthily?

Answer: Fasting and keeping the body in subjection, are indeed a fine external discipline; nevertheless, he only is truly worthy, and well prepared, who has faith in these words: “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins”. But he who disbelieves these words, or doubts, is unworthy and unprepared; since the expression ‘for you’ requires only such hearts as believe.





PRAYERS

HOW A FATHER SHOULD TEACH HIS FAMILY TO DEVOTE THEMSELVES TO GOD

IN THE MORNING AND EVENING


— Morning Prayer —


In the morning, on rising up, you should utter a benediction, saying: In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Then kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer; and if you wish you may also repeat the following prayer: I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray You to keep me this day also from sin and all evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.


And, a hymn being sung, or the ten commandments repeated, or whatever else your devotion may suggest, proceed to your calling with pleasure.




— Evening Prayer —


In the evening, retiring, you should utter a benediction, saying: In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Then kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer; and if you wish you may also repeat the following prayer: I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day, and I pray You to forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.

 

Then sleep quickly and peaceably.




— Blessing and Thanksgiving —

 

The children and domestics should modestly proceed to the table, and with folded hands say: The eyes of all wait upon You, Lord; You give them their food in due season. You have opened your hand, and satisfied the desire of every living thing.


Whereupon the Lord’s Prayer and the following prayer may be repeated: Lord! Our heavenly Father, bless us, and these Your gifts, which we receive from Your benign goodness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Thus after the meal, they should also in like manner be modest and with folded hands, say: O give thanks to the Lord; for He is good, for His mercy endures forever. He gives to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry. He delights not in the strength of the horse: He takes no pleasure in the legs of man. The Lord takes pleasure in them that fear Him, in those that hope in His mercy. Amen.


Whereupon the Lord’s Prayer and the following prayer may be repeated: O God our heavenly Father! We thank You, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, for all Your gifts and favours. You live and reign forever. Amen.





TABLE OF DUTIES

SELECTED FROM THE HOLY SCRIPTURES, FOR THE SEVERAL ORDERS AND CONDITIONS OF MEN,

BY WHICH THEY MAY BE ADMONISHED OF THEIR DUTY


— Of the Clergy —


Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.


1 Timothy 3:2-6, Titus 1:9



— Of the Parish —

 

The Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel. Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honour, especially those who labour in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The labourer deserves his wages.” Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.


1 Corinthians 9:14, Galatians 6:6, 1 Timothy 5:17-18, Hebrews 13:17



— Of Civil Government —


Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer.


Romans 13:1-4



— Of the Subjects or Common Citizens —


“Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honour to whom honour is owed. I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour. Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work. Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.


Matthew 22:21, Romans 13:5-7, 1 Timothy 2:1-3, Titus 3:1, 1 Peter 2:13-14



— Of Husbands —


Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honour to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.


1 Peter 3:7, Colossians 3:19



— Of Wives —


Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.


Ephesians 5:22, 1 Peter 3:6



— Of Parents —


Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.


Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:21



— Of Children —


Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honour your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”


Ephesians 6:1-3



— Of Servants and Hirelings —

 

Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free.

 

Ephesians 6:5-8



— Of Masters and Mistresses —


Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with Him.


Ephesians 6:9



— Of Common Youth —


You who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you.


1 Peter 5:5-6



— Of Widows —


She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.


1 Timothy 5:5-6

 

 

— General Duties —


The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” Also that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.


Romans 13:9, 1 Timothy 2:1




Let each one learn his lesson well,

And peace and order in his house shall dwell.


THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS

ENCHIRIDION

The Ten Commandments
The Apostles' Creed
The Lord's Prayer
Holy Baptism
Confession of Sin
The Eucharist
Prayers
Table of Duties

Outline

FIAT LUX

DETAILS


The Smaller Catechism of Dr. Martin Luther from the Christian Book of Concord.


This version of the Augsburg Confession (1530) is translated from the German text and was published in the United States of America by Solomon D. Henkel and BRS. in 1851. The language The Rejected Stone has provided for this digital version aims to remain true to the original and so with minimal changes, with the exception of Anglicisation, modernising certain words and relying on the ESVUK for Biblical quotations.

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